WHO assists search for `100 missing` in DR Congo boat disaster

The World Health Organization on Friday said it is assisting in the search for as many as 100 people believed missing after their boat sank on the Congo River.

Kinshasa: The World Health Organization on Friday said it is assisting in the search for as many as 100 people believed missing after their boat sank on the Congo River.

Thursday`s accident in the Democratic Republic of Congo happened when two boats collided close to the town of Kwamouth, some 200 kilometres (124 miles) east of Kinshasa, the WHO said in a statement.

The WHO cited survivors as saying there may have been close to 150 people onboard one of the boats.

An initial official toll said three people had been killed and 42 rescued, claiming that around 100 passengers were on the stricken vessel. 

The agency said it was providing medical kits to support a search operation launched by national and provincial authorities, including 100 body bags.

Passengers on the second boat were not thought to have suffered any casualties.

Deadly shipping disasters are common in the Democratic Republic of Congo due to overcrowding on old and poorly-maintained vessels, a lack of life-jackets and the fact that many people do not know how to swim.

The WHO said Thursday`s accident occurred in an area with strong currents.

On Monday, at least 20 people died in a sinking further upstream on the Congo River, some 450 kilometres northeast of Kinshasa.

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